The Vegas Golden Knights finished up their back-to-back in Alberta Wednesday night with an ugly 6-0 loss to the Calgary Flames, snapping a three-game winning streak and yielding two points to a Pacific Division rival in the process.
It was an embarrassing night for Vegas.
Mark Stone was a late scratch with an upper-body injury, but it’s difficult to argue that that would have altered the outcome of the game.
This was a team-wide loss.
Not to mention the fact that Nolan Patrick, who was inserted into the lineup in Stone’s stead, had the best game of anyone on the team. He ultimately moved up to the top line for the third period after Evgenii Dadonov filled the role through the first two, but the Knights were overwhelmed the entire night.
Patrick had at least four promising scoring chances but was unable to beat Flames netminder Jacob Markstrom, who stopped 28 shots en route to securing his league-leading eighth shutout of the season.
The first period could have been much worse, which is saying something considering the Knights were dominated the entire time.
Not only did Calgary score three goals on the first eight shots of the game, but the Flames had several other great scoring opportunities that could have made this a blowout right out of the gate.
Johnny Gaudreau opened the scoring just over five minutes in, scoring in tight on a give-and-go to cap off an excellent shift by Calgary’s top line that had the Knights chasing the entire time.
Johnny Gaudreau puts the flames on the board pic.twitter.com/0p3AlCrxkA— ESPN+ (@ESPNPlus) February 10, 2022
Midway through the frame, a partial breakaway for Andrew Mangiapane forced Brayden McNabb to take a holding penalty; while the Knights successfully killed it, Calgary struck just four seconds later.
It was Mikael Backlund who doubled the home team’s lead, scoring his seventh of the year on a far-side wrist shot at 12:24 of the first.
We absolutely love Mikael Backlund goals. pic.twitter.com/bVrP3kepFk— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) February 10, 2022
The Knights showed some signs of life with a decent shift by the third line following Backlund’s tally, but Shea Theodore’s shot from the blue line caught iron to keep Vegas off the board.
The Flames added to their lead 20 seconds later.
It was just one of those nights.
Elias Lindholm skated into the zone and beat Robin Lehner with a top-shelf wrister. It was poorly played by both Alex Pietrangelo (and Vegas’ defense in general) as well as Lehner.
But Calgary controlled the neutral zone all night, especially in the first, which exposed the Knights on numerous occasions; this was just one example of poor gap control, and it ended up leaving Vegas in a three-goal hole.
The Knights were fortunate it was only three, though.
A Vegas power play late in the period looked more like Vegas killing off a 5-on-3. The Flames had several chances, none better than Dillon Dube’s one-timer on a shorthanded 2-on-1 opportunity in the final 80 seconds of the period.
The Knights headed to the locker room down 3-0 after getting outshot 14-5 and out-chanced 16-4 at all strengths.
The numbers for the second period were better; the results were not.
Lehner was forced to make a big save on Lindholm just 15 seconds in, and Calgary further extended its lead with a back-breaking goal less than seven minutes later.
Patrick had generated two prime scoring chances, making it seem as though Vegas had a chance of getting back in the game, but the Flames promptly put an end to that notion.
Calgary immediately answered with Mangiapane’s 21st goal of the season, a one-timer from the low slot that gave the Flames a 4-0 lead 6:57 into the middle frame.
Andrew Mangiapane has 21 goals, send tweet. pic.twitter.com/vIRmC4S5LM— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) February 10, 2022
Patrick had a late breakaway for his third scoring chance of the period, but Markstrom made a save on his backhand attempt to maintain the four-goal lead for the Flames.
The Knights put up 10 shots in the second period (to Calgary’s 11) and gave up only one goal. But the damage was done.
Even with a relatively even possession matchup in the second, the Flames were still the better team, and their neutral-zone play severely inhibited Vegas’ ability to get anything going offensively.
It took Calgary just 3:09 to further extend its stranglehold on this game, as Matthew Tkachuk made it 5-0 on a between-the-legs move at the side of the net.
The Flames added one more goal for good measure, as Mangiapane netted his second of the game on a late power play to make it 6-0 with just over four minutes remaining.
Vegas forced Markstrom to make some saves late in the game, but the Knights had just one high-danger chance at 5-on-5 in the final 20 minutes.
One night after Laurent Brossoit earned a 28-save shutout, the Golden Knights were shut out while recording 28 shots.
One night after a dominant five-point performance by the Misfit Line, the Golden Knights fell victim to Calgary’s top-line trio of Gaudreau, Lindholm and Tkachuk, who combined for five points of their own.
Tkachuk entered tonight’s game with eight goals and 14 points in 10 games against the Knights; he left with another three.
Lehner gave up six goals on 33 shots for an .818 save percentage after winning four of his previous five starts.
At the other end of the ice, it was a relatively easy night for Markstrom, and it’s one the Knights will look to put behind them.
They have a week to do so before hosting Colorado next Wednesday.
Whether or not Vegas will have its captain for that game remains to be seen, but the time off certainly won’t hurt. After the game, Pete DeBoer said that Stone’s injury is related to the one he has been dealing with all year and that he will be reevaluated in Vegas.
The Knights remain at the top of the Pacific Division with 59 points, but tonight’s loss puts Calgary within five points with five games in hand.